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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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J39 - progress

One of the things about writing a blog, as opposed to an article for a magazine, is that you tend to write as you model and put up pictures of 'work in progress'. As such it is probably common to publish something, possibly making it sound like 'the solution' only to then change it a few days later!   It has been like this with the drive for this loco. The gearbox ran very smoothly, but my attempts to get a decent drive from the tender located motor caused no end of problems. I tried putting i

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planted signal, with bounce

Well the bouncing signal got painted and planted, at least temporarily. I've still got to 'matt it down' a bit and add the green spectacle glass.   I've slowed the bounce down from the first attempt on the starter, the shunt signal is still a little on the fast side.     David  

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A bouncing signal

As a break from the J39 I did a little project to build an advanced starter for the layout. I'd been playing about with a USB servo controller to make a bouncing mechanism.   Many thanks to Mick Nicholson for his Semaphore Signals book, an excellent step-by-step guide to their construction.     David

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J39 - Universal joints and drive

After thinking about this for sometime i had a rummage through the bits box and found an old Exactoscale 2:1 reduction box. I'd already thought that the 36:1 gearbox might be a bit low geared given the size of the wheels and DonW's comment on putting a spur gear drive to take the shaft to a more convenient height seemed sensible too.   The Exactoscale box took a bit of work to get back up a reasonable state, but fits nicely between the frames of the tender chassis. I've also modified the chass

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Planning J39 drive - rebuilding tender chassis?

Well the time has come for serious thinking (some would say I should have done this before).   The North Yard gearbox I got from Branchlines runs very smoothly, and sticking a mini-drill on the back turns the wheels quite nicely! However this isn't exactly the most prototypical drive so I need to work out how to get a universal joint through to the tender and mount a motor.   First problem is that the shaft of the gearbox comes out only slightly below the cab floor. I think I'm going to have

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Rolling Chassis!

After a heavy week the J39 now has a rolling chassis.   Jigging up the horn guides was 'fun' because the design of hornblock means that there is nothing to prevent it from going outwards until you fit the wheels. As most jigs use a spring to keep anything in place while you solder this doesn't work. In the end I had to use the holes in the ends of the brass horn guide to hold a temporary wire through the little tab soldered on the hornblock for springing.   Wheels were fitted thanks to the l

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More J39 progress

A good Friday night and weekend of activity sees more progress on the J39 Chassis Kit from Dave Bradwell   The frames get the various additional plates to form the back end of the pistons.   This shows the slide bars in place for the (dummy) connecting rods.   The coupling rods have been assembled, complete with the rivot for the joint.   And the hornblocks and guides were made up. These are going to be fun as there is no slot in the hornblock and just a piece of brass on the out

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Started work on J39 chassis

I started work on my Christmas present on Friday. A Dave Bradwell J39 chassis. The instructions are detailed and seem to need reading from beginning to end completely at every stage but as usual the etching is superb and so far seems well thought out.       David

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Plan of layout

I realized I hadn't posted a plan of the layout on the blog yet and thought folk might be interested.     This afternoon I painted most of the remaining track on upper level. Unfortunately I had run out of the ballast I used on the first part and have had some fun trying to match up the colours. Note to self, next time make sure I have enough to do the whole layout before I start.     An F5 approaches Empire Basin hauling a short parcel train. The works of National Motors and Switchgea

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More quayside track

Over the festive period I got most of the track for the quayside built and wired. Point control is all manual via wire-in-tube and/or cranks. I've fitted check rails to most of the line and think I'm probably going to try some Noch cobbles for the road service.     The J65 shunts a couple of vans in the loop. This loop is just long enough to take three short wheelbase vans without fouling the three-way point which gives access to the pair of sidings.     This is an overall view of the

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Started work on the quayside

A day off on Friday allowed time to start track building on the lower quayside area of the layout. This bit of the layout is a bit of an 'Enigma Engineering' inspired shunting puzzle, I might even resort to waybills so I can shunt different bits of the pickup goods down to the lower yard. I know one end of the section is going to be a coal yard, but I'm not sure about the other end yet, possibly a scrap yard? The intention is for this track to be inlaid, so copper-clad sleepers and lots of check

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More work on the warehouse

Last night and tonight I made up some Brassmasters etched windows for the warehouse. I think these make quite a difference. Next step is probably going to be working out how to do the roof. One the one hand I fancy doing something with a pitched (maybe hipped) roof, but on the other I'm concerned how that might look given that the backscene means there would be no straight lines.   I think this calls for some cereal packet mock-ups!   David    

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Bradwell Brake

One of the most enjoyable bits of stock construction over the last year was this Dave Bradwell Brakevan chassis kit. Paired with the body of an airfix/Dapol kit I was very pleased with the result. The chassis kit is ??16 and was very well designed and etched. The etch looked fiendish at first glance but I found the step-by-step instructions very good. While it took a lot of time and concentration to put together it was extremely satisfying.     I suspect there might be a Dave Bradwell J39 c

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Empire Goods Warehouse

I've started another substantial building on the layout, this time it is the railway owned goods warehouse. The idea is that this is a building with the track at viaduct level and a road entrance at ground level. The upper floors being used for storage. Construction is based around the use of Scalescenes brick paper and arches together with Brassmaster's etched windows.     Please let me know what you think. I'm wondering if I can find a way to write 'Great Eastern Railway' in the brick wor

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Green Vans

Thanks to the advise on this website I painted and weathered my Dapol BR (SR) CCT this afternoon.   I purchased the wagon from Trains4U earlier this year along with my Expo compressor. The mouldings are a bit 1970's to be honest with dreadfull W-Irons and springs etc. However the solebars were wide enough apart to fit a Bill Bedford sprung W-Iron between with only the minimum of filing. I was able to cut out the plastic leaving only the J hangers, spring and axlebox casting and then stick the

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Return of the J15

Last Friday I had a particularly productive evening rewheeling my old Alan Gibson J15. The kit was built about 25 years ago (gulp) but had languished on the works sidings for a couple of years following the wheel quartering slipping and the wheels being so old that they were loose on the axles and no amount of locktite would hold them in place.   So, finally I bit the bullet and ordered some new wheels from new Mr Gibson. The biggest problem with some of the wheels available from Colin at the

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More pictures of the fiddle yard

I'm not sure how much more by way of constructional details I can give but here goes.   I started off by making the back of the fiddle yard from 6mm MDF. Two computer rack mount brackets were screwed to the wall. These were originally from Dell PowerEdge servers. If you find a friendly IT department they will probably have some spare as each server comes with new brackets but if you are replacing a server in a 19" rack the chances are there is a set in there already. You will probably find the

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How much P4 can you fit into a small room

I thought I'd put up a few pictures of Empire Basin, my bit of East London in P4.   David       This is the view from the door to the spare room. The minimum radius is down to about 40". It is rather nice to sit on the PC while trains go round and round.     The fiddle yard is vertical but only 1 metre long. The unit moves on brackets designed for rack-mounting computers and is counter balanced by a large lump of MDF.     The Riceworks J65 sits on the loop with a brake van in f

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Shunting Signals

It is amazing what you can get done over a weekend when you don't have RMweb to distract you. Seriously though I work in IT systems management and can sympathize with Andy. These kinds of upgrades are a complete pain for all concerned and we should be grateful to Andy and the Mods for all the work they put in.     So, the weekend was taken with fitting a pair on Conrad point motors to some ground disks. The disk was an etch of unknown original I obtained back in the days of the old Cambridge

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An evening of Art work

Last night was spend productively in front on the PC drawing a wagon turntable. The plan was inspired by the York Model Making stand at Scaleforum and is an attempt to try and get something laser cut. The first drawing was e-mailed late last night so I'll be interested to hear back on feasibility and cost. Dependng on these I may try to get a number produced. If any one might be interested then please let me know. The design should be ok from P4 or EM, I think I'd need to draw a different versio

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Let's start at the beginning

My first blog entry, I never was any good at keeping a diary so no doubt this will be a sporadic exercise, let's see if anyone reads it!   I've spend the last couple of days with various work colleagues making polite, if bemused, comments on the copy of BRM sitting on my desk. Some people seem genuinely impressed to see the layout in print. I'm fairly happy with the way it appeared in the photographs. I'd be interested to know what others thought.   Tonight has been spent with probably my be

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